Cyprus Mail

Move to privatise electricity at plenum on Friday

A legislative proposal introducing competition in the domestic energy market is to be put to a plenary vote this Friday.

The bill will usher in a transitional period to full competition by allowing private energy producers – mainly from renewable energy sources – to sell their electricity through monthly, bilateral contracts.

The move is a stopgap to full liberalisation of the market, which House energy committee chair Angelos Votsis (Diko) placed at July 2019.

The bill amends the relevant law to enable the energy regulator to draft new regulations relating to the transitional arrangements.

There would follow a consultation period of approximately one month between stakeholders and the energy regulator, Votsis said.

And the change is expected to lead to a drop in electricity prices.

The government is also seeking to render the Transmission System Operator (TSO) – which monitors transmission and production – a fully autonomous agency.

Currently the TSO is fully dependent on seconded staff from the state-owned Electricity Authority of Cyprus (EAC).

The TSO argues this needs to change, as seconded EAC technicians cannot possibly be given access to competitors’ proprietary data.

The TSO says it requires 78 staff but currently employs 36. The finance ministry has approved €1.4 million for the hiring of 23 additional staff but the appropriation remains under discussion at House finance committee level.

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